Junior's End

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - September 13-14, 2013
Spoilers:  The Changeling
Size:  39kb
Written:  April 1-4,7,13-15,19, 2008
Summary:  What does a retired general do when his son asks, 'Dad, would Junior like me?'
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s), “Noa Grows Up”
4) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Tammy, Tonya, Ali, Melissa, Linda, Keri!

Junior's End
by Orrymain

“We can hide it ri...”  Jonny looked up and gulped.  “Hi, Teal'c.”

“JonnyJacksonO'Neill, you will return my copy of 'Oprah Magazine' to the living room.”

“Okay,” the mischievous boy sighed, pulling the thick publication out from between his mattress and the box spring.

As the boy headed for the door, he heard Teal'c's voice.

“It would also be wise to return my 'The Mummy' DVD as well,” the tall Jaffa commented in warning.

“Aw, shucks,” the little boy whined, turning around and walking over to his pet lizard's cage.  Opening it, he shuffled some of the cage covering until he found the DVD and retracted it.  “Sorry, Bogey.”

As Jonny reached the doorway of his room, he stopped, feeling the eyes staring intently at the back of his head.  Slowly, he turned around and stared at the alien. Then he let out a huge sigh and walked to his dresser, slowly opening one of the drawers and pulling out the multi-colored headband from where it had been stowed between his underwear.

“Bet Jenny would like this.”

“Indeed,” Teal'c replied with a slight smile, though his eyes relayed the stronger message that the things were his and not Jonny's.

As the man and boy reached the bottom of the stairs, Jonny burst out laughing, running to the sofa and jumping on it while proclaiming, “I did better, T!”

“That is true.  Tonight it took me twenty minutes to discover your thievery.”

“I gotta work harder at covert,” the boy stated as he placed the three 'stolen' items on the sofa next to him.

“Practice,” Teal'c stated as he stood with his hands behind his back.  Suddenly, he cocked his head and turned it to his right slightly.  Then he looked all around the room.  “We are missing your brothers and sisters.”

Jonny just snickered.  He'd realized right away that everyone was missing.  He might not be good at taking things from Teal'c, but he always knew if his siblings were in a room with him or not.

“MunchkinsJacksonO'Neill and SpitfiresJacksonO'Neill, come out of your hiding places now,” Teal'c ordered as he began to walk around the living room, looking behind the chairs and sofa.  “Your attention is required,” he said as he walked into the kitchen, examining the table in the dining nook and the area around it.  “There will be no ice cream for Tau'ri children who do not behave.”

“Teal'c, did you want us?” Aislinn asked with bright eyes.

The Jaffa turned around and saw all five of the young children, standing innocently by the counter.  He had no clue where they'd been hiding, but they were out in the open now, something he always deemed important when it came to babysitting them, as he was now doing.

“Sure, he did, Ash,” Jenny said, eagerly walking into the kitchen.  “He said it's time for ice cream.”

“That's what I thought he said,” Ricky responded, joining his twin.

“LittleDannyJacksonO'Neill, where were you hiding?” Teal'c queried as he towered over the middle Munchkin.

“I wasn't hiding, Teal'c.  I was just practicing being quiet,” the child prodigy explained as he sat down in his seat, smiling brightly and folding his hands together as he waited for his ice cream treat.  “I'll take chocolate, please.”

The courageous warrior who had helped take down the Goa'uld wondered just how he'd gotten himself in this situation, one where he was often bested by a band of Tau'ri children.  Few men could ever get one over on him, but leave it to the Jackson-O'Neill brood to cause him to begin questioning his skill.  Actually, he was way ahead of the game, but the little ones did occasionally have their victories, such as tonight.  The problem was, their success just made them more determined to try and get the best of their babysitter the next time as well.

“Very well,” the Jaffa said, chalking up the situation as a loss and vowing to remain more focused in the future.

====

“Tell us a story, Teal'c,” Ricky requested.

“Yeah,” Little Danny agreed as he pulled on his pajama top and then scurried over to his brother's bed.

“We want a scary story,” Jonny agreed as he joined his brothers on Ricky's bed.

“I do not believe your fathers would approve of such a story,” Teal'c refuted.

“They tell us scary stories sometimes,” Ricky said.

“Well, Dad does,” Little Danny corrected, after which the youngest brother in the room nodded his agreement.

“The girls aren't here, so you can tell us,” Jonny asserted, tapping his brothers' arms and motioning for them to sit together.

Inwardly, Teal'c laughed.  The oldest boy, the protector, was in the middle of the  three, as they leaned up against the wall.  Little Danny was on his left, with Ricky on the right.

“You will have nightmares,” Teal'c stated knowingly.

“We're boys.  We don't have nightmares,” Jonny stated confidently.

After two more minutes of the boys demanding a frightening tale, Teal'c acquiesced.

“Very well.”

“We want the scariest story ever,” Ricky insisted.

“Bad scary,” Jonny agreed, while Little Danny nodded.

With an expressionless face, Teal'c stared down at the three boys and began, “You have heard me speak of my mentor, Master Bra'tac.  He is a proud and noble warrior.  I was his apprentice.  You have also heard me speak of my people, the Jaffa, and my home on Chulak.  You know we were once slaves and had to fight for our freedom.  What you do not know is how we were enslaved.”

The brothers were already deep within the barely begun story, their eyes focused intently on the storyteller and their mouths open as they listened.

“At a young age ...”

“What age?” Ricky questioned curiously.

“A young one,” the Jaffa answered.

“How young?” Jonny asked.

“It is not important,” Teal'c responded.

“It might be, Teal'c,” Little Danny asserted.  “Young like Ricky, or me, or Lulu, or ...”

“Twelve,” the Jaffa stated, his forceful tone instantly silencing the inquisitive children.  “BoysJacksonO'Neill, you should not worry about unimportant things.  The exact age is not scary.”

The three boys nodded and waited for their babysitter to continue.

“At a *young* age, an alien creature was placed within our bodies.  It lived here,” Teal'c said, patting his abdomen that was covered by the black and white shirt he was wearing.  “The creature was young, not yet mature.  We helped it to live and grow.  In return, it gave us long life.  Without the creature, we would die.”

Little Danny gasped, while Ricky held his breath.

“What was it called?” Jonny asked bravely.

“A symbiote, but O'Neill called it a snakehead,” Teal'c answered, causing the children to chuckle at the nickname.  After a moment, he added, “O'Neill called my symbiote 'Junior'.”

“That's a funny nickname,” Little Danny opined.

Jonny whispered, “Dad says no one can be perfect all the time.”

The other Munchkin nodded thoughtfully, replying, “He just had a bad day when he thought of that nickname.”

Deciding to forego the merits of the nickname for the symbiote, Teal'c continued, “For many years, as were my brother and sister Jaffa, Master Bra'tac and myself were slaves to the Goa'uld and to the symbiotes we carried.”

Ricky hadn't heard the name 'Goa'uld' before and asked, “Who are they?”

“They're the ones with the funny voices and the glowing eyes,” Little Danny answered.

“Yeah, the bad guys in Dad's stories,” Jonny affirmed.

“Indeed.”

“Teal'c, do you have a sister?” Ricky queried curiously.

“I speak of all Jaffa as my brothers and sisters,” Teal'c explained.

“Oh,” Ricky responded, shrugging and accepting the answer, though he wasn't sure he understood it.

“Did you adopt each other?” Jonny asked.

“No,” Teal'c answered, staring at the chattering boys.

Suddenly, Little Danny told his brothers, “It just means like blood brothers, not really related.  It's symbolic.”

“I thought that was a snake,” the youngest boy asked in confusion, not knowing the definition of 'symbolic'.

“No, Ricky,” Little Danny sighed.  He saw Teal'c's impatient expression and said, “I'll tell you later.  We're ready for more of the scary story, Teal'c.”

With a nod, Teal'c continued, “One day, we were told of a great meeting that was to be held for the purpose of uniting the Jaffa in our quest for freedom.  We walked with hope through the Stargate to this planet.  There, we met many of our brethren, all honorable and prepared to fight.”

Teal'c raised his head, as if to fight off the pain of what he was about to say next.

“All of sudden, the Goa'uld and their Jaffa guard appeared.  Not caring about their brethren, they slaughtered over a hundred Jaffa loyal to our cause.  We fought with valor, but we were outnumbered.  By a large lake, Master Bra'tac and I were attacked and left for dead.”

“Oh, wow!” Jonny responded with wide eyes.  “Did you die?”

Little Danny rolled his eyes as he faced his fellow Munchkin and reminded, “Teal'c didn't die, Jonny; he's standing right in front of us, telling us the story.”

“Oh, yeah,” the sandy-haired boy responded.

“Our attackers assured our deaths by removing the symbiotes from our bellies, for without the healing power of our symbiotes, those of us not yet dead would surely die before the day was done.”

Ricky's eyes were wide, and his mouth open.  Little Danny blinked and licked his lips, while Jonny swallowed and was breathing harder.

“One of the guard became distracted,” Teal'c stated, as he looked from boy to boy.  “He failed to take Junior from my pouch.”

“What's a pouch?” Little Danny asked.

“That is where the young larval Goa'uld, the symbiote, stayed within us.  Here,” Teal'c said, again tapping over his abdomen, “the small life would gain its strength until it was old enough to be implanted into another.”

“What does 'planted mean?” Ricky asked.

“'Implanted', RickyJacksonO'Neill.  The symbiote would join with another, permanently,” the Jaffa responded.  “Usually, the Jaffa would carry their symbiote for seven years; then it would be transferred to its' host.”

“Does it hurt?” Jonny asked, looking down at his stomach and thinking it must really hurt a lot to have something pop in and out of it.

“It does not,” Teal'c answered as he continued his story.  “For three days, Bra'tac and I struggled to stay alive.  In order to survive, I had to pass Junior back and forth between us.”  He extended his arm out, saying, “I would reach into his pouch, remove the larval Goa'uld, and put it in my pouch.  After a while, I would return it to Bra'tac's pouch.  It was the only way for both of us to stay alive.”

“What's a larval?” Ricky questioned.

“It is the name for the very young symbiote,” Teal'c answered simply.

“What happened next, Teal'c?” the Spitfire asked next.

“I know!” Jonny exclaimed.

“How can you know?” Little Danny queried.

“'Cause I do,” Jonny answered.  He looked at their babysitter, smiled, and surmised, “SG-1 rescued you, huh?”

With a nod and small smile, Teal'c confirmed, “Indeed.  We were taken back to the SGC.  It was DoctorFraiser who managed to keep both Bra'tac and I alive until a solution could be found.”

“Did you get another larval thingy?” Ricky asked.

“There was none available, and Junior was weakened by its attempt to keep us both alive for so long.  DoctorFraiser knew it would die eventually, even if she continued the transference.”

“The what?” Ricky asked, his nose scrunched up as he tried to follow the story.

“He means putting the Goa'uld in him and then in Bra'tac,” Little Danny explained as he looked at his younger brother.  Looking at the Jaffa, he asked, “What happened?”

“I woke up and was a fireman.  It is time for you to sleep,” Teal'c said, ending his story abruptly.

“Uh, Teal'c.  We wanna know what happened,” Jonny whined dejectedly.

“How do all scary stories end?” Teal'c asked.

“With screams!” the boy exclaimed in eager anticipation.

“If you wish,” Teal'c stated.  “In my delirium, I realized it was all a dream.  I was not a Jaffa.  I did not have a symbiote.  SG-1 was not a team of explorers, but was a team of firefighters.  O'Neill was the chief, and SamanthaCarter the captain.  O'Neill liked to slide down the pole a lot,” he noted with an incline of his head and a small smile, causing the children to giggle a bit.  Growing serious, he said, “But nothing was real.”  Walking slowly towards the children, he concluded, “I was not me, but was instead a middle-aged werewolf that went *arrrrrrrrrgggrrrraaaap*!

At the same time as his loud nonsensical exclamation, Teal'c leaned forward and began to reach for the boys' abdomens, as if to pull out a Goa'uld from their nonexistent pouches.

All three screamed and then began to laugh.

“That was a great scary story, T,” Jonny praised, hugging the Jaffa as he got up and returned to his bed.

“Thanks, Teal'c,” Little Danny said, hugging the babysitter before he, too, walked over to his own bed.

“Good story, Teal'c,” Ricky agreed, getting a hug and then settling under the sheets.

“You will go to sleep now.  Your fathers will be home soon,” Teal'c said, turning off the light and closing the door.

Suddenly, Jonny got up and whispered something into Little Danny's ear.

“No secrets!” Ricky whined, pushing his covers down.

“Okay, come here,” Jonny urged as the boys huddled together.

====

The next day, Jack was whistling while he did some light cleaning in the kitchen.  At the moment, he was wiping down the refrigerator.  Date night had been awesome, as usual, so he was in a great mood.

“Hi, Dad,” Jonny greeted as he walked into the kitchen and looked longingly at an orange.

“Go ahead,” Jack said, smiling at his hungry son.

“Thanks, Dad,” the boy spoke.  He watched his older father continue with his cleaning.  After digesting his first bite of the fruit, he grinned and asked, “Dad, would Junior like me?”

“I don't think 'like' was in Jun...”  Jack froze, turning to face his namesake.  “Junior?”

“You had a bad day, Dad,” the boy informed his father.

“A bad day?”

“Junior doesn't make sense for a nickname,” Jonny claimed.  As he began to walk away, he called out, “Snakie would have been better.”

“Snakie would have been better?” Jack mumbled.  He stood still for several seconds before calling out, “Daniel!”  Hurrying towards the living room, he shouted again, “Daniel!”

“Jack, I'm right here.  Stop shouting,” Daniel spoke from his spot on the floor.  He was kneeling by the bookshelf, cleaning the base of the furniture.  Leaning back so that he was sitting on his legs, he asked, “What's wrong?”

Looking around to make sure none of the kids were nearby, Jack approached his husband and said, “Your son just asked me if Junior would like him.”

“*My* son?” Daniel chuckled, knowing that potentially meant something negative had gone on.  Then he realized the full depth of what he'd just heard.  “Junior?” he asked incredulously, standing up.

“Where'd he hear about ...” Jack began.

“Teal'c!” both men exclaimed in unison.

“He babysat the Munchkins and the Spitfires last night for us,” Daniel stated.  “Do you think he ...”

“I think that's obvious,” Jack answered.  “We need to find out what ...”

“... he said,” Daniel completed, putting aside his cleaning accessories.

====

A minute or so later, the parents found Jonny and Little Danny together in their room.

“You were right, Jonny,” Little Danny whispered upon seeing their parents enter.

“Right about what?” Jack questioned.

When the two boys just looked at each other, Daniel interjected, “It's okay.”  He sat on his namesake's bed and questioned, “Tell us about Junior.”

Little Danny answered, “He was in the story Teal'c told us last night.”

“But we know it wasn't just a story,” Jonny admitted.  “I saw Teal'c's stomach once.  He has funny marks on it, like an 'X'.”

“Jonny thought it was a pouch, just like in Teal'c's story,” Little Danny added.

“Okay, let's just take this a step at a time,” Jack requested.

====

Less than five minutes later, the fathers had left their children to talk in the privacy of their bedroom for a bit.  They'd been told everything the two boys could remember about the scary story their babysitter had related to them the night before.

“I can't believe Teal'c told them about Junior,” Jack spoke, shaking his head.

“Babe, I think it was inevitable.”

“What?” the older man responded, staring at his lover in disbelief.  “I thought you'd flip over this.”

“A couple of years ago, I probably would have,” Daniel admitted.  “Jack, our children have been through the Stargate.  They've fought The Trust, single-handedly.  They've ... gawd, some of them have seen the Goa'uld up close.  Jen and David have known for a long time, and ... well, we've finally told them all about the bad guys.”

“But not about snakeheads invading their bodies.  They'll have nightmares,” Jack argued.

Daniel stared down his lover with a small smile and said, “Obviously, they aren't going to have nightmares, or they would have had one last night.  Besides, Jonny admitted they knew about Teal'c's pouch.  He'd seen it once, but just didn't know what it was.”

“Why didn't he say something?”

Daniel laughed, “He's in training, every day, to be just like his dad.  He prides himself on being covert.”

“Then why did he just tell me that he knew?  Face it, Danny, that's what he's done,” Jack pointed out.

“Yes, he did, because he doesn't like secrets that are important, and his intuition told him that this was a big secret.  We've taught our children that we don't have secrets that are important.  It's a fine line, Jack, and he's trying to distinguish that line.”

“I still don't like it,” Jack said stubbornly.

Chuckling again, Daniel reminded, “Uh, as I recall, you've told our children plenty of stories about Replicators and bad guys with glowing eyes, which, by the way, they now know are real and not just characters in stories you tell.”

“Okay, there's that.”

“Following that same logic, wouldn't they then be skeptical of any ... scary story that we told them?” the younger man challenged.

Jack cocked his head while giving his Love a tiny shrug of agreement.

“That was scary,” Daniel stated, thinking back on the event that was Teal'c's story to the boys.

“Yeah,” the older man agreed as he, too, began to reflect on that moment in time.

//Flashback//
Jacob Carter, having been contacted by the SGC, walked urgently into the infirmary and asked, “Doctor Fraiser, what's their condition?”

“They're critical, all three of them,” Janet answered with concern.

“Three?” Jack asked.

“Due to his advanced age and the fact that his body is showing signs of rejecting the symbiote, Bra'tac has had to have it longer than Teal'c.  Now it seems that the strain of keeping them both alive is too much for the symbiote.  I don't think it could restore either one of them at this point,” Janet explained.

“Well, what about a hand device?” Daniel queried about the alien technology that was capable of restoring health to individuals.

“I brought something better, something that should work as effectively as a symbiote, at least for the short term,” Jacob answered, holding up a vial.

“What's that?” Jack questioned curiously.

“Tretonin, Sir,” Sam answered for her father, watching as Jacob handed the vial over to Janet for examination.

“The drug the Pangarans offered us?” Daniel questioned, referring to a race they'd recently met.

“Ooooh!” Jack exclaimed in unpleasant surprise.  “That's ground Goa'uld, isn't it?”

“It's a little more refined than that, Jack, but, yes, it is derived from Goa'uld symbiotes,” Jacob confirmed.

“It supplanted the immune systems in the Pangarans.  Why couldn't it do the same for the Jaffa?” Sam questioned pointedly.

“I've already considered it.  It won't work,” Janet responded.  “The sample I studied was designed to take the place of a human immune system.”

“We've since refined it specifically for Jaffa physiology.  The Tok'ra have been looking forward to an end to the Jaffa dependence on symbiotes for centuries. Now we've been working on this Tretonin variant ever since you introduced us to the Pangarans, but it hasn't been tested,” Jacob stated.

“But even if it does work, I mean, Teal'c and Bra'tac will become just as dependent on the Tretonin as the Pangarans,” Janet pointed out.

“Given time, we can solve that problem, but at least they'll be alive,” Jacob replied poignantly.

“If I knew for a fact that this is what Teal'c wanted ...” Janet began.

“Janet, this could ultimately lead to freedom from Goa'uld oppression for all Jaffa. That's something Teal'c and Bra'tac want more than anything,” Sam argued.

“Do it,” Hammond ordered.

“Yes, Sir,” the physician acknowledged.

“Teal'c without Junior.  That's a concept,” Jack commented.
//End of Flashback//

“It was a bit of a radical ... concept,” Daniel agreed now.  “But it worked.  Between the Tok'ra and Janet's research team, Tretonin's been modified.  I mean, he'll probably always need it, but his dependence has lessened as they've worked on it.”

“Teal'c was back on his feet in a couple of days; the old coot, too,” Jack noted.

“Jack, if Bra'tac ever heard you calling him an old coot, you'd be flat on your butt.”

“Probably,” Jack acknowledged.  “He's doing great for a hundred and ... whatever,” he chuckled.

“Jack, I think we should tell the rest of the brood about symbiotes and Tretonin,” Daniel opined.  He saw Jack's uncertainty and added, “Babe, it's only a matter of time, anyway.  I'm a little surprised the others haven't seen his pouch before as it is.  We've been lucky.”

“You're right.  Danny, I have told them a lot of stories.  Do you think they're going to think all of them are true now?”

Daniel smirked, “Odds are, they already think it.  They've seen too much, and they're way too ... gawd ...”

“... smart,” both men said together.

The archaeologist almost hated to say what he was going to say next, but he bit the bullet and stated, “Noa needs to know.”

Jack gave his lover a harsh look and asked exasperatedly, “*Why* did you have to say that?”

“Because her boyfriend is a Jaffa,” the younger man chuckled.  “She talked all night about her 'phone call' to K'hang yesterday.”

“The Stargate is not a phone,” Jack whined.

“I know that,” Daniel replied.  “The point is that even though K'hang will be on Tretonin when the time comes, Noa will need to know the history and what Tretonin is about.  It's just a matter of time, Jack.”  Giving his husband a moment to think about it, he then suggested, “Why don't we ask Teal'c to come over?”

“Yeah, I guess that's a good idea,” Jack agreed.  Then he groused, “K'hang is *not* her boyfriend.”

“We should ask Janet, too,” Daniel added, deciding to ignore the ongoing debate about Noa's relationship with Teal'c's grandson.

“T and Janet, at the same time?  Is Noa ready for that?” the older man questioned.

“Things are better.  Noa will be fine,” Daniel opined strongly, having great faith in the strength of their daughter.

====

That afternoon, Janet and Teal'c joined Jack and Daniel in telling the entire brood about the true connection between the Goa'uld and the Jaffa.  For the first time in front of the children, Teal'c removed his shirt, giving them a close look at the pouch that had for years carried a larval Goa'uld.

Janet brought a small vial of Tretonin and gave Teal'c the injection that he still had to take, though less often than when the drug had first been administered to him and other Jaffa who now lived without symbiotes.

“Oh, wow, you know, I remember seeing you take an injection once, Teal'c,” Jennifer spoke suddenly.  “I think it was when we were in Mexico.  I figured you were diabetic or something, but things were so crazy, I just forgot to ask.”

“I take great care to make sure I am not observed.  Should I be, it would put at risk the cover story set up for me by the government,” Teal'c responded.

“Because no one can know that you are an alien,” Lulu surmised, smiling when the Jaffa nodded that she was correct.

“I'm glad the snake saved you, Teal'c,” Chenoa stated gently, getting up from her chair to hug the Jaffa.  “Thank you for helping him, Aunt Janet,” the girl spoke tentatively.

Things had been a little rough for Chenoa during the past few months.  Teal'c and Janet had revealed their romantic involvement and announced their engagement, crushing the little girl's soul.  Only recently, after meeting Teal'c's young grandson, had she begun to heal.  She was returning to her old self, but she still hadn't quite forgiven her long time beau or her Aunt Janet for hurting her so badly.

“It was DanielJackson who gave me the strength to save both myself and Master Bra'tac,” Teal'c replied.

“Daddy?” Chenoa asked.

“Me?” Daniel asked, totally surprised by the comment.  With his lover and children all looking at him expectantly, he shrugged and said, “I have no idea how.”

“It is time for you to know,” Teal'c stated as Chenoa returned to her spot on the sofa, which just happened to be next to her younger father.

“Oh, well, okay.”

“Do tell,” Jack requested, giving his Love a small smirk.

“Daddy was one of the firemen,” Jonny guessed, remembering the story Teal'c had told them the night before.

“Firemen?” both Jack and Daniel echoed in question at the same time.

“No, he was not.  He was more,” Teal'c corrected.

“I was?”

“You were,” the Jaffa stated.  “During my unconscious state, when I thought all was lost, DanielJackson came to me on more than one occasion.”

“Came to you ... how?” Jack asked curiously.

“He was a psychologist.”

“Well, that makes sense ... not,” the silver-haired man replied.

“Actually, Sir, if you'll allow me to interject,” Janet began.  “Teal'c's told me about this before, and it does make sense.”

“How?” the archaeologist inquired, wanting to know why he deserved such credit for something he'd never actually done.

After telling everyone his dream in which his teammates were members of a San Francisco fire unit, Teal'c went on to explain that in his mind, he wasn't sure what reality was real -- his life as a fireman, or his life as a Jaffa.  He kept going back and forth.

“Bra'tac was like my father in the fireman reality, much as he is to me in life.  He has been my mentor since my father's death and was so in the dream.”

“But in the dream,” Janet continued, “Bray, as he was called, needed a new kidney, and T, as Teal'c was known, was going to be the donor.  After the operation, Bray was rejecting the new kidney, the one that had come from Teal'c.  The conflict and hesitancy Teal'c was feeling about taking the symbiote from Bra'tac and putting it into himself in order to stay alive as well, was playing out in these two realities in his mind.”

“Because you thought you should just leave Junior in Master Bra'tac?” David asked.

“That is correct.  I owe my life to Bra'tac.  I felt much guilt each time that I removed my symbiote from his pouch and returned it to mine.”

“I'll bet he would have done the same thing,” Brianna opined sympathetically.

Teal'c nodded his head in gratitude for the tomboy's support and continued, “I flashed from being a fireman to being a member of SG-1, and no longer knew which reality was real, or even if either of them were.”

“So, in the firefighter reality, Colonel, or rather Chief O'Neill referred T to a psychologist to help him through his confusion, and that was Daniel,” Janet added.

“*I* referred him?” Jack asked, a bit amused and surprised.

“Why not, Dad?” Jennifer interjected.  “Daddy's a good listener, and he's great at giving advice.”  She saw her older father's reaction and added hastily, “Uh, and you are, too.  Really.”

As the children shared a tiny chuckle, Janet looked at the archaeologist and stated, “It does make sense, Daniel.  In your role at the SGC, you've been a bit of a counselor on many occasions, but I think the real connection is that you've always been able to understand kelno'reeming more than the others.  You've meditated with Teal'c many times.  I think it was a natural thing for him to cling to that while he fought for his and Bra'tac's lives.”

“So, Danny was Sigmund Freud?” Jack teased lightly.

“I did not know,” Teal'c admitted.

“Just remember you're the one who recommended me,” Daniel teased.

More seriously, Teal'c revealed, “When I was about to lose hope, I recall discussing the two realities with DanielJackson.  I told him about SG-1.”

//Flashback//
“And what does this team do, the one ... the one in your dream?” Daniel questioned as he and T walked through a park.

“Go places, uh ... you know, try to make a difference; help people,” T answered.

“You're a fireman,” Daniel stated, glancing down at the ground, his jacket over his left hand.

“No, we um ...” T began, hesitant to reveal the secret of the other reality.

“You're just gonna to have to trust me.”

“All right,” T agreed.  “We go to other planets through a ... a big ring of shimmering blue water.  I'm not even human.”

“So you're a ...” Daniel prodded.

“A Jaffa.  I carry this thing around in my gut, that, ah, is called a symbiote; helps keep me alive.”

“Something like a kidney, something you might be hesitant to give up?  Let me ask you this.  Does Bray fit anywhere into your dream?”

“Which one?  I don't even know what's real any more,” T answered.

“Well, you're not alone in that.  I mean, philosophers have been trying to figure out the answer to that question for a long time.  So, just let me get this straight,” Daniel said as the two men sat down on a bench.  “When you're there, this is the dream, and when you're here, that's the dream?”

“They're both so real, I ...”

“And in both you're having nightmares?” Daniel as the psychologist questioned.

“I'm not even supposed to dream in the other one.”

“Because you're Jaffa?”

“Don't ask me.  I ...”

“Well, it's really neither here nor there.  The point is, both can't be real,” Daniel concluded.

“No.”

“So, you're trying to figure out which of the two lives you seem to be leading is the real one so that you can stay there or here or wherever it is you're supposed to be once and for all; but maybe the answer to that question is something you haven't even considered.  Maybe neither one is real,” Daniel put forth.

“What?” T questioned in surprise, not knowing what to make of the suggestion.

“Think about it,” Daniel requested pointedly.  “If you can't distinguish between them, if the one seems equally as real as the other, maybe you don't belong in either one.”

“Then what do I do?”

“Hang in there, just a little while longer,” Daniel said encouragingly, after which he patted T on the shoulder, stood up and began to walk away.

“You can't leave me here like this!” T implored.

“I haven't left your side, Teal'c, and I'm not going to.  That's a promise.”
//End of Flashback//

“I called you Teal'c the last time,” Daniel noted.

“Indeed.  In my mind, DanielJackson, you were giving me strength to continue on,” Teal'c admitted, giving the man an emotional nod of thanks.

“Well ... I'm glad, but I wasn't really there.”

“Maybe not physically, Daniel, but in some spiritual sense, you were,” Janet interjected.  “That was Teal'c's last recollection before awaking on the ramp in the gate room.”  She paused and then added, “Our minds are much more powerful than we realize, and we carry one another in our hearts and souls, especially at the SGC.  We've always been more like family.  Now, that may not be medical science, but we know very little about our capabilities.”

“We're very primitive ... yadda, yadda,” Jack stated, the point being that as advanced as the human race thought it was, it was still very young when compared to others in the universe.

“Exactly.”

“So, your mind took you where it needed to go to get you through that,” Daniel surmised.

Teal'c cocked his head as he looked at his friend.

“Um ... what?”

“You came to me one more time, DanielJackson, and spoke those words almost precisely.”

“I did?”

Teal'c nodded and proceeded to relay the conversation that had occurred the next time he'd awakened.

//Flashback//
“Hey, Teal'c,” Daniel greeted in the SGC infirmary.

“Am I dreaming?”

“No, not this time.  It's late.  Everyone's gone home for the night.  I just wanted to make sure you're okay.”

“What of Bra'tac?” Teal'c asked with concern.

“Bra'tac's fine, thanks to you,” Daniel answered as he stood next to the recovering alien's bed.

“And to you as well, I believe.”

“No, no that was you.  I don't know anyone that could have done what you did. You kept him alive for three days without ever thinking about yourself.  Every time you gave up your symbiote, you knew it might be for the last time.”

“This experience has been very different for me.  It seemed so real,” Teal'c responded.

“Your mind took you where it needed to go to get you through this.  I promise you this is real.  You're just going to have to trust me on that.  You go to sleep. When you wake up, everything is gonna be fine,” Daniel spoke assuredly.

“Is that a promise, DanielJackson?”

“That's a promise.”
//End of Flashback//

“Daddy saved Teal'c,” Aislinn giggled proudly.

“I'm glad you think I helped, Teal'c, but ...”

“Daniel,” Jack interjected thoughtfully, looking at his lover suspiciously.

“What?”

“Are you sure you didn't do something?”

“Jack, we were at the Mountain, working.  I didn't do anything.” Daniel chuckled, “I definitely wasn't in San Francisco or on that planet until we all went together.”

“No, that's not what I meant, but you said something that day, in your office,” the silver-haired man reminded.

“I did?”

“Yes, you did,” Jack insisted.

“Well, I'm sure I said a lot of somethings.  Usually, when I speak, I do say something,” the younger man teased.

Ignoring the small barb, Jack continued, “You said you were worried about Teal'c, that you had a hunch something was wrong.  He was late, Danny, but not that late.  We wouldn't have gone out for another few hours, but you had that feeling, and you pushed us.”

Looking downward and blinking a few times, the archaeologist acknowledged, “I'd forgotten about that.  It was something I'd read the day before on the internet, about a couple being stranded somewhere.  I couldn't get it out of my mind.  When Teal'c hadn't come back ... yeah, you're right.  I thought we should go looking.”

“I am glad you did, DanielJackson.”

“Those hours made the difference, Daniel,” Janet asserted.  “I don't think the symbiote would have lasted much longer on the planet.”

Chenoa got up and went over to hug her younger father while saying, “Thank you for saving Teal'c, Daddy.”  She pulled back and, looking over at the Jaffa, said, “I wouldn't have met K'hang if you hadn't.”

After that, the little girl hurried up the stairs, without saying another word.

Janet sighed, “She's doing much better, but she's still a little angry.”

“It is my fault,” Teal'c said, taking Janet's hand in his.

“She's just not sure how to process this,” Daniel rationalized.  “She loves you both, but this story hit close to home for her.”

Jennifer grinned, saying, “You two are so cute together.  I can't wait for the wedding.”

The conversation shifted, turning to more lighthearted things.  Junior and the Goa'uld were forgotten, replaced by more topical things, such as when Teal'c was going to teach Jonny more fighting techniques and what flavor of ice cream the children would have that night.

====

“You sure you won't stay for dinner?” Daniel asked as he and Jack walked their guests to their front door roughly twenty-five minutes later.

“Thank you, Jack, but we have plans,” Janet answered, smiling in anticipation of the evening she and Teal'c had in store for themselves.

“O'Neill, DanielJackson, I am sorry if I told the boys a story you do not approve of.”

“No, Teal'c, it's okay.  It's just ...” Daniel began.

“They're smart,” Jack stated, completing his husband's thought.  “They've seen and heard enough to know that our scary stories might just have a basis in truth.”

“It would have been okay, though, if Jonny hadn't seen you changing your shirt that day.”

“We will have another conversation about honor,” Teal'c replied.  “JonnyJacksonO'Neill was to have been taking his nap at that time.”

“Jonny's not always big on naps,” Jack responded.  “He thought he'd play covert. We'll be talking to him about that, too.”

Teal'c nodded, and then he and Janet left.

Daniel closed the door, locking it.  He turned a bit slowly until he faced his soulmate.

“That was, uh, a bit ...”

“... strange,” both men said in unison.

“Danny, Janet's right.  We're all connected.  SG-1 is more than a team.  It always has been, and it always will be,” Jack stated.  He put his hand at the back of his neck, rubbing it slightly.  “It never should have been.”  Putting his hand back down, he elaborated, “Military protocol aside, you have to have one another's back, but we went beyond that almost from the day the team was formed.”

“I guess, in a way, we all needed one another.”

“We were all individuals, searching for something.”

“From each other,” Daniel surmised.

Jack smiled as he wrapped his arms around the younger man, pulling him close.

“Are you trying to get fresh with me, Jack?”

“Not trying, doing,” Jack responded cheerfully.  “We needed each other, you and me, Angel.  It took us a while to get it all figured out, but when we did ...”

“Fireworks, not always good,” Daniel chuckled as his hands warmed the small of his lover's back.

“I love you, Danny.”

“And I love you,” Daniel responded, the two sealing their declarations with a tender kiss that lasted several seconds.

“Do you hear that?” Jack asked when the kiss ended.

“Yeah,” Daniel replied, glancing over his soulmate's shoulder to see Aislinn standing there, giggling.

“Dad and Daddy kissing at the door,” the little girl giggled and then turned and hurried away.

The lovers chuckled and then, arms around each other's waist, walked to join their family for another happy evening in their always unpredictable, but blissful nation of fourteen-plus.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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